Fix Me A Snack

A blog created by a mom who got sick of feeding her kids crackers and ice cream

In case you hadn’t heard, southern New England got a bit of snow last night. It’s hard to say how much. The wind has pushed so much of it around and the drifts are 4 feet high in places. We had to shovel out a path from the door just so the dog could get out to do his business this morning. He is currently plopped in front of the wood stove and has made it known that he has no desire to go outside again today.

My girls ventured outside first thing this morning. Ten minutes later they came back thoroughly defeated by the snow. We quickly decided it would be a perfect day to stay in, wait for the plow to show up, and make some snow treats. (The grown-ups, however, are going to have to get outside and deal with reality sooner rather than later. It’s going to take a good bit of shoveling to get to the chickens and open their coop door.)

The first thing my eldest requested was Molasses on Snow. The Kitchn has a similar recipe for Maple Syrup on Snow.  Another cute variation comes from Food on the Food: Maple Syrup Snow Pops.

 

Then there is the whole Snow Ice Cream genre. It’s easier and quicker than Snow Candy. But it requires pristine snow. Lucky for us, we’ve got plenty at the moment right outside our front door.

How to Make Snow Ice Cream (video). Mix together 4 cups fresh clean snow, 1/2 cup whole milk or half and half, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract. Serve.

Maple Snow Cream from Foodie Tots. A simple and tasty looking recipe. Wouldn’t mind a big slice of coconut cake to go with it. But like I said, I’ve got some shoveling to deal with. I’m looking at an excellent upper body workout today!

Happy weekend! Let me know if there are any other snow treats out there that I don’t know about.

 

I don’t know about you, but my kids are more excited for the Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet than they are for the big game. It’s safe to say that I’m not terribly excited about any of it. The snacking possibilities will have to carry me through. Woe is me.

Some of these snacks are healthier than others. May the force be with you and may your team win.

Kale Chips

Kettle Corn

Mini BLTs

Mini Meatball Sandwich

Bumstead Sandwich

Guacamole

Potato Skins

Also here are some other fun looking recipes that I would happily gobble up on Superbowl Sunday:

Three Layer Dip from Choosing Raw

Low Fat Dip Recipes from Simple Nourished Living

Bacon wrapped chicken bites form Skinny Taste

Avo-dilla from Healthy Happy Life

Mexican Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing from Noble Pig

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds from Jane Spice

and last but not least, Chex Soctcheroos from Yammie’s Gluten Freedom

When we rolled out of bed this morning the outdoor thermometer told us that it was -1 degrees. Minus 1. Having lived  in Connecticut for a while, I’m always a little shocked when it actually gets cold in January. We’ve had some warm spells and it was looking like we might have another mild winter. But apparently it was not meant to be. I am slightly comforted by the snowman recently built by my six year old.

Today was not a day to serve up the usual crudities after school. Today we are having soup for dinner while sitting as close to the wood stove as possible. Anything other than a warm snack was not an option. So I decided to put some leftover baked potatoes to use.

I’ve posted a  potato skins recipe before. But I’ve since been educated by the likes of America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook and Simply Recipes. These are better. They could be made in advance too and the glorious melting of the cheese could be saved for the last minute.

Potato Skins Recipe

This healthy (ha!) baked potato skin recipe is as good as its restaurant counterpart because of the crispy cheese. While your sprinkling the cheese on the potatoes to bake, don’t be sad if a big clump misses a potato. That’s the best part.

4 medium leftover baked potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups grated cheese such as mozzarella, cheddar, and/or parmesan
Fresh chives, for garnish

Preheat oven to 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in half lengthwise and scoop out the majority of the inside of the potato. Set the potato insides aside for another use. Cut the potatoes up into child-sized pieces.

Arrange the potatoes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Use a pastry brush to douse the potatoes with the melted butter. Bake the potatoes for 10 minutes or until they have browned on the edges. Sprinkle the cheese over the potatoes and bake them for another 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is properly melted.

Yield: serves 3-4 as a hearty snack
Prep-time: 10 minutes
Baking time: 20 minutes

 

Meet our new favorite way to eat oatmeal. I really like it with some chopped pecans on top. The kids prefer it without.

Apple Pie Oatmeal Recipe

This is a perfect not-too-sweet and healthy way to start your family’s day. You can use maple sugar instead of brown sugar if you have it.

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons brown sugar, not packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch salt
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1 3/4 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Chop up the apples and cook them until they start to get soft. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and cook for another minute and stir well.

Add the oats and water and cook on medium low heat until thick, stirring occasionally. It should take about ten minutes for the oats to thicken. Stir in the vanilla and serve. Top with chopped toasted pecans if you wish.

Yield: 2 1/2 cups
Prep-time: 15 minutes

We’ve got a pretty quiet Thanksgiving planned this year. But in the past I’ve been so busy planning for a house full of friends and kids that I haven’t even had time to post about Thanksgiving goodies.

The world is a happier place when guests (especially the kids) have little somethings to munch on so they don’t have any problem making it to the main event.

Here are some suggestions for Thanksgiving snacks. All of them can be made a day or two beforehand. And all of them are kid-approved.

Kettle Corn

Apple Chips

Honey-roasted pecans

Romesco Dip

Hummus

S’more Bites

I hope you all have a day full of laughter and yumminess.

A fight almost broke out in my kitchen this afternoon. After my kids spent half the day hidden away in their room eating Halloween candy, they pounced on a plate of perfectly roasted kale. We had to take the plate away so that the grown-ups could have a few.

I’ve finally figured out  the right amount of salt and how to avoid burning the little suckers. I know everyone else got into kale chips years ago. But I just couldn’t figure them out. I wanted to know what all the fuss was about and even posted a recipe back in 2010. But even then it seemed like kale chips were nothing more than a snack that super healthy people had talked themselves into. Kale is so chocked full of nutrition it’s hard not to eat some even when it is not at it’s best. But the kids will have none of it unless it tastes good. Kale chips to the rescue.

Like so many of the great snack foods, with kale chips it’s all about the salt. When they’re roasted properly, they’re crispy but they instantly melt in your mouth. There isn’t a ton of flavor unless you get a chip that’s still soggy. So again, it’s all about the salt.

Roasting the chips at a low temperature allows the kale to dry out evenly and avoids burning. Gone are the days of desperately stirring the kale around on the baking sheet trying to let those last few bits dry out before the other half starts to burn. Burnt kale chips are foul and should be outlawed. The extra time is takes to roast the kale at a lower temperature is well worth it.

Kale Chips Recipe

Curly kale is perfectly suited to kale chips. I prefer it greatly to dino/tuscan kale for this recipe. Ripping the leaves off of the stem quickly with your hands rather than removing the stem with a knife saves a lot of time. It takes me 10 minutes to get the kale in the oven, if not less.

1 bunch curly kale
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 generous pinches of fine salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Wash each leaf of kale. Shake off  any excess water and rip each leaf off of the stem and into bite-sized pieces. Discard the stems and place the kale into a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the kale. Coat the kale with the oil using your hands to mix and gently massage the kale until the color starts to brighten and the leaves soften a tad. This only takes a minute. Sprinkle on the salt and mix well.

Spread the kale out over the two baking sheets and place in the top third and lower third of the oven. Bake for 20 minutes.

Lower the oven’s temperature to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pull the baking sheet out of the oven and toss the kale with your hands to redistribute it. Rotate the trays turning them from front to back and switching the top sheet with the bottom sheet. Bake for approximately 15 more minutes or until they are crispy. Taste and sprinkle on more salt if necessary. Serve immediately.

Homemade Cheese Crackers from 101 Cookbooks. I love the cute owl shapes!

Dark chocolate cherry energy bites from Oh She Glows.

Halloween candy: 4 ways to find it a new home from Cook Play Explore.

Mother Jones: How the industry minimized (and minimizes) the health effects of sugars from Food Politics.

15 Fabulous Ways to Eat Fall Vegetables from The Kitchn.

Freeze Fruit on a stick…in greek yogurt! from The Kitchn.

Choose the right apple (flow chart!) from Slate via Culinate.

Banana and peanut butter are great friends. I guess the only thing that would make these little muffins any better would be a handful of chocolate chips. Ooohhh, I hadn’t thought of that. Well, take it away readers and do what you will. I think these muffins are perfectly sweet just the way they are. But you gotta do what you gotta do.

Banana Peanut Butter Mini Muffin Recipe

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

3 medium ripe bananas, throughly mashed
2 large eggs, beaten
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenhiet. Move oven racks to the upper third and lower third of the oven.

Grease two mini muffin pans with spray oil or softened butter. Set aside.

Whisk together the flours, sugars, flaxseed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix together the mashed banana, eggs, yogurt, peanut butter, and butter.

Divide the batter between the muffin pans putting about a heaping tablespoon in each cup.  Bake for 15 minutes, rotating the pans once during baking.

Run a knife around the rim of each muffin cup to loosen the muffin. Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack. Serve or store in an airtight container for up to three days. Extra muffins can be frozen.

Yield: 48 mini muffins
Prep time: 25 minutes
Bake time: 15 minutes

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Here’s a snack that the kids and I can’t say ‘no’ to lately. Even the peanut butter hater in my household is a big fan. It’s the best I’m-craving-chocolate-but-I actually-want-to-put-some-real-food-in-my-body kind of snack there is.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

2 overripe bananas, peeled
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
2 tablespoons chocolate syrup
1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Put it all in a blender and whiz until smooth. Makes 2 cups.

The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooler. Instead of shopping for new sweaters at Anthropologie I should be dealing with all the herbs I planted this spring. At least I’ve got some of the basil taken care of with this Basil Hummus.

This is a winner of a recipe from An Organic Conversation that I found via seaweed snacks. It is simple to prepare and has the perfect amount of garlic and lemon juice. It’s great for dipping and on sandwiches. Love it.